Patient Education Quick Reference Guide Diablo Valley Oncology/Hematology Medical Group Phone Number: 925-677-5041Uses For This Medication
- Deferasirox is used to treat chronic iron overload (excess iron), a side effect of blood transfusions.
- This medication may also be given for other conditions as determined by your doctor.
How This Medication WorksDeferasirox is a type of medication called an iron chelator. Iron chelators work by binding to excess iron in the body and helping to remove this iron through the urine and/or feces. Excess iron occurs in patients who are receiving frequent blood transfusions to help treat rare blood disorders, including thalassemia, sickle cell disease, and other rare anemias or myelodysplastic syndromes. If iron overload is not treated, the excess iron in the body can lead to serious health problems, including liver and heart damage.
Benefits Of This MedicationDeferasirox has been shown to either maintain or reduce iron levels in patients who’ve received numerous blood transfusions.
Who Should Not Take This MedicationYou should not take this medication if you:
- Are allergic to deferasirox or any of its components
Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication
Activity related precautionsDeferasirox can cause dizziness. Use caution or avoid operating machinery, including driving a car, while taking this medication.
Organ related precautions
- This medication can cause changes in the ability of your liver and/or kidneys to work normally. Some of these changes, especially those in the kidney, can be serious or life threatening. Your doctor or healthcare provider will check your liver and kidneys regularly, usually through blood tests, while you are on this medication to make sure that they are both working properly. If you have any liver or kidney problems before starting this medication, make sure that you tell your doctor or healthcare provider so that he or she can watch you carefully for possible problems or side effects.
- This medication can cause hearing problems. As a result, your doctor may recommend that you get regular ear exams before and while you are receiving deferasirox. Let your doctor or healthcare provider know if you experience any ringing in the ears or loss of hearing.
- This medication can cause eye problems, including damage to the lens and retina, cataracts, and increases in intraocular pressure (the pressure within the eye). If you have a history of eye problems, you should tell your doctor or healthcare provider. In addition, your doctor may recommend that you get regular eye exams before and while you are receiving deferasirox. If you notice any vision changes, let your doctor or healthcare provider know right away.
- This medication may temporarily reduce the number of platelets in your blood. This can increase your risk of bleeding. Contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you notice unusual bleeding or bruising, have black or tar-like stools, see blood in your urine, or develop pinpoint red spots on your skin. If your platelet levels become too low, your doctor or healthcare provider may recommend that your treatment be delayed, that you receive a platelet transfusion, and/or that you take medication to help increase the number of platelets in your blood. To lower your chance of bleeding, do not use aspirin, aspirin-containing medications, or aspirin-like medications (for example ibuprofen, naproxen). Use caution with sharp objects like razors and nail cutters, and avoid activities that can cause cuts, bumps and bruises. You should not floss your teeth if you have been told you have low platelets.
- This medication may temporarily lower the number of red cells in your blood. This can increase your risk of anemia. If your red blood cell level becomes low, you may feel tired and weak. If your red blood cell level becomes too low, your doctor or healthcare provider may recommend that your treatment be delayed, that you receive a red blood cell transfusion, and/or you receive a medication to help increase the red cells in your blood.
Miscellaneous precautionsThis medication can cause a skin rash. These skin changes usually go away when deferasirox is stopped. If you notice any skin changes while receiving this medication, contact your doctor or healthcare provider.
Patient specific precautions
- This medication is safe and effective in children over 2 years of age.
- Older patients (over 65 years of age) may be more sensitive to deferasirox than younger patients.
Pregnancy and breastfeeding precautions
- It is not known whether or not this medication can cause fetal harm. Tell your doctor or healthcare provider right away if you or your spouse/partner becomes pregnant while on this medication.
- It is not known whether this medication is found or excreted in breast milk. Since many medications are excreted in breast milk and because this medication can cause serious harmful reactions in infants, breastfeeding should be avoided.
Medication and Food InteractionsBefore using this medication, tell your doctor or healthcare provider of all prescription or over-the- counter products you are taking, including dietary supplements or vitamins, herbal medicines and homeopathic remedies. Do not start or stop any medication without your doctor or healthcare provider’s approval. Possible interactions can occur with deferasirox and the following medications:
- Aluminum containing antacids (when taken at the same time)
- Other therapies to treat excess iron
- All medications can cause side effects. However, not all patients will experience these side effects. In addition, other side effects not listed can also occur in some patients. You should call your doctor or healthcare provider if you have any questions or concerns while you are on this medication.
- You should contact your doctor or healthcare provider if you experience any side effect(s) which don’t go away, worsen, are serious in nature, or are worrisome to you.
- Side effects can occur when deferasirox is given alone or together with other chemotherapy medications. The side effects listed below are those reported in patients who were treated with deferasirox alone.
More common side effects
- Nausea, vomiting, diarrhea, stomach or abdominal pain
- Skin rash(see Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication)
- Changes in kidney function tests(see Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication)
Less common side effects
- Sore throat
- Joint pain
- Back pain
Rare side effectsThis is not a complete list of the rare side effects reported with deferasirox. For a complete list, please talk with your doctor or healthcare provider about reviewing a copy of the package insert.
- Liver problems(see Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication)
- Eye problems (see Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication)
- Hearing problems(see Precautions To Be Aware Of Before Taking This Medication)
- Decreased platelets, (cells that help with blood clotting)
How To Take This Medication
- This medication is taken by mouth (orally) once a day on an empty stomach 30 minutes before a meal, preferably at the same time each day. This medication comes in different dosages. Check to make sure you have the correct pill strength. The tablets should not be chewed or swallowed whole. Instead, they should be dissolved in a glass or water, orange juice, or apple juice and drunk immediately. After swallowing, any medication residue left in the glass should be re-mixed in a small amount of liquid and drunk. If you do not understand these instructions, ask your doctor or healthcare provider to explain them to you.
- It is important that you only use this medication when it’s been prescribed for you. Sharing this medication with someone for whom it is not prescribed could cause harm.
- If you accidentally take too many pills or someone else accidentally takes your medication, contact your doctor, your local poison control center at 1-800-222-1222, or emergency services immediately.
- Store this medication at room temperature and keep in its original container.
- Keep this medication out of the reach of children or pets.
- Ask your doctor or healthcare provider how to dispose of any medication that you no longer use.